A championship fight between Ayaka Hamasaki and Miyuu Yamamoto was among a series of fights announced for RIZIN 26 on Wednesday.
The fight for the promotion’s vacant super atomweight championship joins a lineup scheduled to happen at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on New Year’s Eve.
The matchup comes after former champion Seo Hee Ham vacated her belt. The fight is a chance for Hamasaki to regain the belt, as she dropped it to Ham via split decision in 2019.
Hamasaki earned the belt in 2018, defeating Kanna Asakura to take the then-vacant belt. She defended it once, winning over now-UFC fighter Jinh Yu Frey in 2019.
Hamasaki has won a fight since she lost the belt, defeating DEEP Jewels veteran Tomo Maesawa at RIZIN 22.
Yamamoto last fought in December of 2019, defeating AMP The Rocket on scorecards after a strong performance. With all of her pro fights in RIZIN, Yamamoto has a record of six wins and four losses.
Former K-1 Kickboxer Ren Hiramoto To Make MMA Debut
Kickboxer Ren Hiramoto will make the crossover to MMA in December when he fights Kyohei Hagiwara. Hiramoto was a frequent K-1 Japan fighter from 2015 to 2018 before signing with RIZIN in 2019.
After a kickboxing win against Takahiro Ashida on a RIZIN card in 2019, Hiramoto eyed a career in MMA.
Hagiwara had an explosive win in November, knocking out Yojiro Uchimura within a minute at RIZIN 25. The win was his second through three fights in RIZIN.
Minowaman To Face Former Sumo Wrestler Sudario
MMA veteran Minowaman will enter the RIZIN ring for the first time on New Year’s Eve when he fights former sumo wrestler Tsuyoshi Sudario.
Minowaman, a former UFC fighter and Pancrase veteran has been an active competitor for over two decades, putting together a record that includes 65 wins and 43 losses.
Sudario won his MMA debut in September, defeating pro wrestler Dylan James due to doctor stoppage after a round.
Four Bantamweights Paired Up
Two-high level fights in RIZIN’s bantamweight division will take place the same evening that a title fight is happening.
Yuki Motoya will look for his fourth win in the year on the card when he faces Naoki Inoue. Motoya has had a strong 2020, picking up two wins in DEEP Impact and one in RIZIN. His last RIZIN appearance was in August, where he defeated Uoi Fullswing with a guillotine choke.
Inoue will attempt to get his third-straight RIZIN win on the show. The former UFC fighter made his RIZIN debut earlier in the year, defeating Trent Girdham and Shooto Watanabe.
Ulka Sasaki will return from injury on the show when he fights Kenta Takizawa.
Injury took Sasaki out of action in 2019, as he suffered a broken jaw from fighting Kai Asakura. The fight on New Year’s Eve will be his first after a 14-month layoff. The bantamweight has a record of one win and two losses in RIZIN.
Pancrase regular Takizawa will fight in RIZIN for the third consecutive time. He has fought on the promotion’s last two cards, winning and losing a bout respectively.
His last appearance was a unanimous decision loss to Hiromasa Ougikubo at RIZIN 25.
Undefeated AI To Face Asakura
Undefeated super atomweight AI will face Kanna Asakura on the card. The fight will be AI’s first in over a year.
AI has appeared in RIZIN events three times through five fights as a pro. Her last fight was a year ago, defeating Andy Nguyen in a split decision performance. The match in December will be her first since leaving prolific MMA gym Krazy Bee.
Asakura will walk into the fight on a three-fight streak of victories. Her sole 2020 fight was in August, where she defeated Mizuki Furuse within a round with strikes.
Ota Confirmed To Make MMA Debut Against Tokoro
A previously announced fight between Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling gold medalist Shinobu Ota and MMA veteran Hideo Tokoro was also confirmed for the card on Wednesday. The fight was previously announced during RIZIN 25.
The Updated Lineup
The previously announced championship fight for the card is a matchup between RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kai Asakura and the returning Kyoji Horiguchi. Here’s the updated card.
Bout 8: Kai Asakura (16-2) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (28-3) (RIZIN Bantamweight Championship)
Bout 7: Ayaka Hamasaki (20-3) vs. Miyuu Yamamoto (6-4) (Vacant RIZIN Super Atomweight Championship)
Bout 6: Shinobu Ota (0-0) vs. Hideo Tokoro (34-30-2) (134 lbs)
Bout 5: Ren Hiramoto (0-0) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (2-3) (149 lbs)
Bout 4: Minowaman (65-43-8) vs. Tsuyoshi Sudario (1-0) (264 lbs)
Bout 3: Yuki Motoya (26-8) vs. Naoki Inoue (14-2) (134 lbs)
Bout 2: Ulka Sasaki (22-8-2) vs. Kenta Takizawa (11-6) (134 lbs)
Bout 1: Kanna Asakura (17-4) vs. AI (5-0) (108 lbs)